I spent the other night looking through my mom’s and grandmother’s recipes. I was looking for a few specific ones that I hope to make with the girls – now grown women – this holiday season. Each recipe is written on an index card in my mother’s and my grandmother’s handwriting.  As I look at these recipes it brings back such clear memories of the women they were and the times we spent together.

As you think about gifts this holiday season, remember that many of the best gifts are not bought – but rather created.

Hand-written recipes

Handwrite a few family favorite recipes. What we are all missing in these social media days is evidence of a person’s handwriting. It’s like a picture of that person that will be lost if we don’t grab it now and preserve it for the next generation.

Try making one of your family recipes with the kids – both young and old. This will make the memory that attaches itself to the recipe and will give them the same gift I receive each time I look at these recipes and make them for my family.

Create holiday traditions

Some of these recipes inevitably will become part of your holiday traditions. Chex Mix, our gluten-free version, is highly anticipated.  One recipe wanted by only me is what we call in my family “green Jello”. It’s my mom’s Jello salad that she always brought to each holiday meal in my grandmother’s ornate cut-glass bowl. I make it because I love it. (Who does not love something that has cream cheese and Cool Whip?) And it makes me feel like Mom and Gram remain a part of our celebration.

This year we are going to make gluten-free versions of my family’s pierogi recipes. Both of my daughters have celiac disease, and they miss some of the treats from holiday’s past. Pierogi and kolacky are at the top of the list.

For those that want to help your kids continue the kitchen lessons, America’s Test Kitchen has added yet another great kids’ cookbook to its already impressive line-up: Kids Can Cook Anything. Recipes are linked with videos that demonstrate key skills. I love the ease of the recipes as well as the abundant pictures to show what the end product looks like!

Time well spent

I know as I bring out their grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s recipes, and as we remake them gluten-free, that Allison & Amanda will remember the time we spent in the kitchen creating a meal we shared together this holiday.

And this kind of gift cannot be bought. It takes your time and your patience and your love to create. Coincidentally, those are the gifts that our children crave the most from us.

As you spend time together this holiday season, don’t forget the power of the gift that is not bought, but created. Happy holiday season to all and may we all have a blessed New Year.


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Written by Susan Beacham
Susan Beacham founded Money Savvy Generation in 1999 after almost two decades in private banking and investment management complemented by considerable time teaching at the elementary level.

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